I read ten books in April 2023:
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood (short story collection)
- The Cloisters by Katy Hays
- Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
- The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (audiobook)
- The Silence Project by Carole Hailey
- Scary Smart by Mo Gawdat (non-fiction)
- Why We Dream by Alice Robb (non-fiction)
- Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
- The Book Share by Phaedre Patrick
I was lucky enough to get tickets to see Margaret Atwood in Liverpool in March. She is such an inspiration, and I could have listened to her all night! Intelligent, passionate and funny. One of my favourite actresses, Maxine Peake, also performed one of her short stories which was wonderful.
The trip sparked a binge read of Margaret Atwood’s books. I am (slowly) reading Burning Questions, a collection of essays, but this month I also read Oryx and Crake, Old Babes in the Wood (a short story collection) and listened to The Year of the Flood on audiobook. I am particularly enjoying the Maddadam trilogy and finding it more accessible than The Handmaid’s Tale which I read a long time ago.
Another highlight this month was The Cloisters by Katy Hays. A young academic spends her summer interning at a secret museum in the heart of New York with a medieval garden and enigmatic colleagues. I loved the setting of this book – it was like stepping back in time. The comparisons to The Secret History by Donna Tartt are well deserved.
The Silence Project by Carole Hailey was also a brilliant read. It’s written like a memoir and sometimes it felt like you were reading real events. Narrated by her daughter, a middle-aged woman vows to stay silent and listen more which spirals into a global movement with tragic and alarming consequences. I loved all the moral dilemmas this book raised.
I read Scary Smart for research, and it really opened my eyes to the potential dangers of artificial intelligence. There is lots in the news about it at the moment so I would recommend this book if you’re interested in the subject. I wasn’t 100% sold on the solutions offered in this book, however.
Finally, Blood and Sugar is another recommended read. It’s a historical thriller set in the 1780s. It is highly immersive and very detailed. I really enjoyed the book, but I did find it quite complicated towards the end and it was hard to keep track of who all the characters were and how they related to each other. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.